Board Members

The Board currently has seven members.

Anyone may make nominations to the Minister of Health of suitable people to be Board members.

The membership must include a majority of members who are practising dietitians and two Laypersons.

The current Board is:

Laila Cooper of Christchurch - Practitioner Board Chairperson

Laila is a highly experienced Health Services Manager with project management skills and a clinical background in dietetics. Laila is currently the CEO of Christchurch PHO. Her previous roles have included other work in PHO’s; health promotion; mental health service; food service management and as a dietetic tutor with University of Otago.

She is passionate about achieving positive health outcomes and committed to quality results.

Paula Baker of Hamilton - Layperson - Deputy Chairperson

Paula has significant governance experience and holds a number of directorships, including Hospice Waikato, Enrich+, Braemar Hospital Charitable Trust, and St Peters Swimming Academy. Paula is currently Plunket’s National Advisor, Governance and is working with Plunket’s 18 Area Boards to build governance capability to enable Plunket to build its strategic competence and commercial acumen. 

She has extensive experience in the health sector and brings an in depth knowledge of professional development and training within the health sector. Paula holds a strong personal belief in building the strength of the New Zealand health sector for the benefit of communities, appreciates the pressure on the health budget and understands that communities need to have confidence in health service delivery, and that practitioners are competent to carry out their profession.

Sandy Clemett of Christchurch - Practitioner 

Sandy is a New Zealand trained dietitian with over 25 years of clinical and managerial dietetic and allied health experience.  She was the Clinical Manager of Nutrition Services, Christchurch Hospital 2006-2012 and has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Management (University of Otago).  

Over the last three years Sandy has been employed in the position of Allied Health, Change Architect and is responsible for leading and implementing organisational change across the Canterbury Health system for the Allied Health workforce as it relates to leadership, models of care and new facilities at Burwood and Christchurch Hospitals.

As a past president of Dietitians NZ (the Association) and an appointee to the Dietitians Board of New Zealand since August 2011, Sandy has an interest in leadership and governance within the health sector. 

Sandy was born in Dunedin and grew up initially in the United Kingdom before moving to Christchurch.  She now lives close to the Port Hills, where she and her family enjoy outdoor activities.

Hiki Pihema of Gisborne - Practitioner

Hiki lives in Gisborne and is from Te Whanau a Ruataupare, from Tokomaru Bay. She has been a registered Dietitian since 1976 and has worked in many areas of dietetic practice including food service, management, clinical and public health. She has worked in numerous settings including hospitals, GP clinics, schools, community and marae. Hiki has served on many national nutrition committees in an advisory capacity. She was a member of the Board of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand for 8 years.

Hiki is currently employed by Tairawhiti DHB as a Dietitian, Team Leader.  She is also employed by Otago University as a Professional Practice Fellow in the Interprofessional Education (IPE) programme, and a tutor for the Masters of Dietetics programme. Hiki is a member of Te Kahui Manukura o Kai Ora, the Maori Dietitians Group of Dietitians NZ.

Hiki is a keen runner, enjoys kapa haka and spending time with her four mokopuna, and is planning to return to Tokomaru Bay to live.  

Louise Mainvil of Dunedin - Practitioner

Louise is an experienced public health dietitian who works for the University of Otago. Her research and teaching interests include exploring psychological, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors influencing food distribution and consumption. 

Louise has been a NZ registered dietitian since 1996. She started her dietetics career in the USA working as a clinical dietitian (1989). Louise lives in Dunedin with her husband and young son and enjoys family time exploring nature's beauty.

Stella Friedlander of Auckland - Practitioner

Stella has been a NZ registered dietitian since 1991. She has worked in a variety of clinical roles, and is currently a paediatric clinical dietitian at Starship Children’s Health where she has been since 2003.

Stella’s current role covers the nutritional management of children with renal disease, inpatient eating disorders and assisting with the training of student dietitians. 

She lives in Auckland with her 2 sons.

Jennifer Pelvin of Wellington - Layperson

Jennifer has worked in the not for profit environment and NGO sectors for over 30 years. She has a Masters of Business Administration (not for profit), is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the Australasian Society of Association Executives. 

Jennifer is a Director of Butler Pelvin & Associates, an Association Management Company, providing governance, administration, management and leadership services with a particular focus on organisations with charitable or not for profit status.   

Currently, she holds a number of positions including: chief executive roles for both PodiatryNZ and NZ Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association, and a board role on the Allied Health Aotearoa NZ


The Board is supported by:

  • Registrar - Sue Domanski
  • Registration Officer - Helen Whittaker